Going Green

Today is the Ontario provincial election.

I voted for the Green Party.

Not because of any ideological attachment to them (although, listening to the Green Party leader on CBC radio two weeks ago, he was far more reasonable, coherent, and less inflammatory and divisive than the main party leaders).

No, I voted for the Greens because it was a strategic vote. I suppose I could have spoiled my ballot, but I have grown tired of that. I reckon the politicians ignore it and assume I am an idiot who doesn't know how to mark a single X next to a candidate's name. I figured it was better to give my vote to some non-mainstream party in the hope that it will spur greater choice and genuine debate. (At least in the Federal elections, doing so makes sense, since parties are funded according to the number of votes they get - assuming the cross a 3% of popular vote threshold. I believe that only the province of Quebec similarly funds its political parties).

The hot button issue for this election was whether or not faith based schools should be funded. Currently, in Ontario, we have 4 publicly funded school boards: public English, public French, English Roman Catholic and French Roman Catholic. Other faith schools: other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc are not publicly funded.

The Conservatives had campaigned to extend public funding to faith based schools. The Liberals and NDP pounced on this, decrying how this would divide Ontarians, how it would further erode and destroy the already rickety publically funded school system . Blah, blah, blah. Etc, etc, etc. They spared no opportunity to vilify and inflame the issue as much as possible. Lots of loud heated rhetoric was spouted forth.

Only the Green Party seemed levelheaded about it. As they put it, the current funding system is unfair, it discriminates against other religious groups. There are only two fair things that can be done: (1) fund all faith based schools, or (2) fund no faith based schools. Their position was to fund no faith based schools.

I should point put that Roman Catholic schools in Ontario are not permitted to be exclusive. They must allow non-Catholic students and must make allowances for non-Catholic students (i.e. during religious instruction, non-Catholics get their choice of some other form of moral / ethics instruction). I would expect the same to be true for other faith based schools, should they be publicly funded.

To me, it doesn’t matter which way school funding goes, but it should be fair for all - not used to score political points with divisive and inflammatory rhetoric.

Image nabbed from here.

[Updated 11-October-2007 @ 07:45 EST. Voter turnout was a record low 52.6%. Unofficial results show the Liberals with 66% of seats with 42% of the vote, Conservatives with 24% of seats with 33% of the vote, and NDP with 10% of seats with 17% of votes. The referendum on Mixed Member Proportional representation was soundly rejected with 63% of voters wanting to keep the First Past the Post system.]


Barbara said…
I agree with the Green Party stance on this issue. I'm glad you gave them your vote.
Richard said…
barbara: in Canada we are lucky to have more than a two party system. Ok, ok we only have 3 major parties, 4 if you include the separatist party in Quebec, although it is predominantly divided along Liberal or Conservative lines.

I don't think I have ever cast a ballot with fewer than 6 candidates on it. The 3 major parties are always represented with the remainder being either independent or belonging to marginal parties. The Green Party is the largest of these marginal parties.

I want more voices in politics. I want the views of others better represented, so for me, it makes sense to try and support alternative candidates to that end. I found the 1993 election to be quite exciting, there were 14 political parties running that election – along with many independents. It was fantastic. In the 1993 Federal election, I had 10 candidates in my riding (presented in descending order of popular vote)

Liberal: (described as Canada's natural ruling party, also as campaigning from the left and governing from the right)
Progressive Conservative: (defunct, merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada)
Reform: (defunct, grassroots movement that divided the conservative vote in Canada. Morphed into the Canadian Alliance party before merging with the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party of Canada)
New Democrat: (leftist, labour oriented party)
Green: (largest of the non-elected parties)
National: (defunct libertarian party – only ran in that election)
Independent: (independent candidate)
Natural Law: (new age party. Proposed formation of yogic flyers to balance Canadian karma).
Marxist-Leninist: (quite marginal)
Abolitionist: (marginal party, calling for the abolition of interest rates and taxes)
KayMac said…
I am enjoying these lessons on the Canadian political system
Richard said…
kaymac: for most of Canada's history, the two main parties have always been the Liberals (red) and the Conservatives (blue). In the early 60s the NDP managed to make some gains - but it tends to be a sideline player.

However, Canada does have a quite strong tradition of grassroots movements and political parties. Sadly, they tend to be quite marginal and never go anywhere. See here for a list of Federal political parties (past and present) - it is quite a long list. Some of tehm are satirical (like the Rhinoceros Party)
carra said…
In Lithuania there are over a hundred parties too much for a country with only 3.5 million population (and that was before half of the country left after joining the EU). I personally voted once in my life on behalf of my mother when I was about 5 years old. It was a referendum for whether Lithuania wanted to be independent or not. I remember crossing out the YES (for independence) with a twinge in my heart. Back then I believed in my country! Now I don't bother too much, I know most of the leaders in the countries that I visit, or that are of world wide importance... I know pathetic to say the least, yet I can't be bothered to listen to their lies... Tactical vote sounds definitely more interesting than simply ruining the opportunity to annoy them!
I was disappointed the MPP was shot down...it would have least given us a starting point. There was little interest in this election and not many understood that issue. With an hour to go, our poll station had only had 1/3 out to vote.

I don't believe any religion should be publicly funded...we should all fall into one standard system. This would save so much money on curriculum development, bussing...etc. you wouldn't believe it. That $$ could ACTUALLY be used FOR THE KIDS!!!

I voted NDP but Green was right up there s my alternative. I don't suppose Chiropractors will ever be re-listed with OHIP but we always consider that plus the education issues.

Till next time I suppose!
Richard said…
carra: 100 parties? Wow! That would make for exciting politics. In Canada, a political party needs to have at least 2 candidates (nominated according to certain rules) in order to be called a national party.

MOI: I wonder if all those people who didn't get their member elected are now having second thoughts about MPP? On the other, I think the whole MPP issue was poorly advertised and explained. I had to think carefully about how it was supposed to work before deciding it was better than the status quo (my inital reaction was against it).

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